Planning is everything

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” – Benjamin Franklin

I’m a big Test cricket fan and last week I had the pleasure of watching the England cricket team win the Ashes in Australia for the fist time in 24 years. The England team played really well. They were supremely fit, bowled to perfection, batted as though their lives depended on it and showed absolute precision in the field.

But as skilful and precise as they were, it was the meticulous planning and preparation on of the team and the backroom staff that allowed them to go into the Test series with every chance of retaining – and winning – the Ashes.

Regardless of what sport, industry or area of business you’re in, effective planning is essential.

Preparation allows you to:

  • Provide direction – to have a goal, a set of objectives and a strategy to reach them
  • Reduce uncertainties – effective planning allows you to assess what problems  may or may not be around the corner and put strategies together in order to tackle them
  • Allocate resources – what will you need to meet your objectives? How many people do you need? What type of people? What kind of equipment will you require?
  • Efficiently use those resources – resources are finite and proper preparation allows you to work out the most efficient way in which to use the resources at your disposal
  • Anticipate action – what is the competition doing? What plans might they have? Don’t blindly assume, but make an educated assessment of what actions you might have to take based on a set of different scenarios
  • Reduce risks and loss – by being prepared, you’re giving yourself the best chance possible to minimise the potential risks that may lie ahead
  • Facilitate assessment – whatever happens, you will need to assess how you’ve performed. By planning ahead you can work out how, what and when to make those assessments
  • Make good decisions – more than anything, good preparation allows you to make better decisions. The more information you have to hand, the better prepared you are to use that knowledge to make the right decisions

“The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining” – JFK

Following their historic Ashes win, the England cricket team are now ranked third (as of January 2011)  in the world. And this is something that should inspire them to train even harder, prepare even more effectively and set their goals even higher. Most people tend to celebrate when they win and analyse things when they lose. But surely it’s just as right to analyse things when you win – what went right; how could things have been improved – and perhaps have a drink or two when you lose!

It’s clear that the best companies, the best sporting teams and individuals, the best writers are often the ones who prepare and plan well. Preparing effectively is not a guarantee for success- but it will give you every opportunity to succeed.

What are your views and opinions on preparation? How does planning work for you? Why is it important?

3 Responses to “Planning is everything”

  1. Tweets that mention Planning is everything « Gavin's Blog -- Says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Gavin Llewellyn, Gavin Llewellyn. Gavin Llewellyn said: Effective planning & preparation are an essential ingredient for success […]

  2. bridgetclewis Says:

    Great article! If we want purposeful success vs. accidental success, we can’t neglect to plan.

    • Gavin Llewellyn Says:

      Thank you very much for your brilliant comment Bridget. It’s really appreciated.

      I completely agree with what you’ve said. There is always an element of luck when things go well, but I truly believe that you have to make your own luck by creating opportunities for yourself. I often find when I watch sport or read up on a successful business, that those that plan, prepare and set themselves up for success are often the ones that get the rub of the green and things just seem to go there way – whilst the others look on bemused and frustrated! Maybe it’s the others that need to plan and prepare more effectively to deal with the setbacks.

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